The research is designed to address the question of how different types of trauma in childhood (physical, sexual, and emotional) may affect the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with memory, distinctly. The goal of the research involves the broadening of understanding on the potential effects abuse has on memory by evaluating areas of the brain that are essential for recall, such as the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus. The implications of such research are that, with the understanding of the effect of varying types of trauma, tailored treatment can be designed. Such treatment could include intervention programs that would assist with targeting specific issues, such as memory deficiency and PTSD. The methodology implemented to attempt to elucidate if abuse type had varying effects is assessment of postmortem tissue samples of the DG. The proposed methodology involves counting neuronal cells and determining methylation of DNA, which can affect gene expression. The proposal concludes that findings would allow for future research to more specifically isolate treatment options to tailor towards abuse type endured.
Lauren Privette is a biology major with a psychology minor. She is interested in furthering her education in a PA program after working as a medical scribe.